The scientific tourist #241 — Liberty Bell 7

Brought to you from the depths of the Atlantic Ocean (via the Kansas Cosmosphere in Hutchinson, Kansas), it’s Liberty Bell 7:

Liberty Bell 7

Liberty Bell 7 flew Gus Grissom in space for 15 minutes as part of the Mercury-Redstone 4 mission on July 21, 1961. It was the fourth Mercury-Redstone, the second manned U.S. suborbital spaceflight, and a successful flight. But the spacecraft’s hatch blew off after splashdown, causing the capsule to sink (and nearly taking Grissom with it).

So Liberty Bell 7 spent the better part of the next 38 years on the ocean floor, until it was recovered from some 15,000 feet of water. It was subsequently restored by, and is now on display at, the Kansas Cosmosphere — a fantastic stop should you ever find yourself (or find an excuse to land) in the middle of Kansas. Here’s a nice little video featuring the President and CEO of the Cosmosphere (Chris Orwoll), giving you a behind-the-scenes look at some artifacts found on the capsule:

By the way, should you want to take photographs of the Cosmosphere’s displays, take a tripod and cable release. Most of the good stuff is behind very reflective glass, so a flash won’t do you much good (and you’ll be fighting reflections even then).

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